Here’s how Furious 7 created the memorable scene where Paul Walker’s Brian runs off the side of a bus falling off a cliff, using very little CGI.
Furious 7 features a memorable scene in which Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Connor runs off the side of a bus and jumps onto a car to avoid falling off a cliff – here’s how the scene was shot. The over-the-top action scene led many to wonder how it was filmed, especially with Walker passing away halfway through filming the film. the fast furious The franchise has always been rooted in real stunts and practical effects, and the bus jumping scene in particular is notable for being done with minimal computer enhancement.
The bus scene takes place as part of the sequence that sees Brian tracking down hacker Ramsey, played by Nathalie Emmanuel, on a bus winding through the mountains of Colorado. After Brian smashes his way through Mose Jakande’s mercenaries, including a fighter played by martial arts star Tony Jaa, the bus plunges off a cliff, forcing him to scramble to survive. The scene instantly became one of the most famous fast furious stunts and contributed to the overall positive fan response to the Furious 7.
What viewers may not realize is that nearly every part of the on-screen stunt actually happened. The sequence was shot by second unit director Spiro Razatos, a seasoned stunt coordinator. The production crew used a wooden ramp to tip the bus on its side, then dragged it up a real cliff. The crew used a platform to hang the bus and Brian off a cliff. The bus was dropped off a small manageable cliff, then later dropped off a larger cliff for the longer duration used in the film.
However, Paul Walker did not portray Brian during the stunt. Due to Walker’s tragic death, his character Brian O’Connor retired in Furious 7, the film serving as a moving farewell to an actor who was on the show from the start. However, the Colorado sequence was shot in September 2013, so it was Walker who played Brian in the surrounding scenes. While Walker did several stunts and low impact driving scenes in the fast furious movies, for the high-risk jump, a professional stuntman stepped in. A special DVD feature shows the actual stunt performed by Walker’s stunt double, Phil Culotta. Culotta was hooked up to a platform with wires, but the bus fell under him during the scene, meaning he only had one hold to perform the stunt jump featured in the final film. The only computer improvement was to edit Culotta’s security cables.
While the bus jump was one of the most memorable scenes in Furious 7 next to the cargo plane drop stunt, it almost didn’t happen. According to Business Intern, Universal studio executives didn’t want to pay to film the scene on location in Colorado. The most of Furious 7 was filmed in Georgia, due to the state’s film production tax breaks, but Razatos and director Justin Lin worried that using CGI to change locations would look fake.
Eventually, the studio relented and allowed the team to shoot in the Rockies. The move and the practical stunts were one of the factors that made Furious 7 one of the most expensive films ever made, with a $190 million budget, a 276-person stunt team, and over 320 used cars, 230 of which were destroyed. However, the expense was worth it, because Furious 7 grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and was loved by fans, thanks in part to memorable stunts like the bus jump.
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